Kris Mayes calls SCOTUS ruling ‘double protection’ for abortion pill in AZ 

Arizona was one of 17 states in a recent lawsuit that sued the FDA for more access to Mifepristone.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 7:49 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The back-and-forth battle over abortion continues after the United State Supreme Court removed restrictions on the abortion pill Mifepristone temporarily while they consider issues in a court challenge that put restrictions on it. While Arizona has stricter abortion laws now than in some states, this should not affect us.

It can be very confusing, but in the simplest terms, while the abortion pill case makes its way through the court system, it will remain legal in Arizona regardless of the case outcome because of a different federal ruling just days ago.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said Friday’s Supreme Court order protects this form of abortion even more for Arizona women. It’s a brewing battle in the courts and a controversial topic that Arizona is no stranger to. “It is a big issue because we do have that 15-week ban in the state of Arizona, so medication abortion is really important in Arizona,” said Mayes.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes says women in our state still have access to the abortion pill Mifepristone.

The medication comes in the form of an abortion pill called Mifepristone. The latest battle began in Texas when a district judge issued a sweeping order against Mifepristone last week, suspending the FDA’s approval of it. It’s something Mayes disagrees with. “It’s been legal for 23 years. It’s been safe for 23 years. It’s safer than Tylenol,” said Mayes.

Two days ago, an appeals court in Louisiana blocked that order but did reimpose tighter restrictions that only made it legal to use for pregnancies up to seven weeks and that it cannot be dispensed through the mail.

Arizona OBGYN Dr. Greg Marchand said there should be access to Mifepristone, but he thinks those restrictions would be good. “Perhaps tighten up the guidelines to be sure that in-person dispensing is going on, that the doctor is looking at the patient giving them the prescription, that they’re not over the internet and not sure who they’re giving it to. I think there’s a lot of room for that and that could improve safety,” said Dr. Marchand.

As for Arizona women, this abortion pill is still an option because of a different court case. Arizona was one of 17 states in a recent lawsuit that sued the FDA for more access to Mifepristone. A federal judge ordered the FDA last week to preserve access to the drug in those states, including Arizona. Mayes said the Supreme Court’s order Friday bolsters that access for Arizona women. “I see it as double protection for us. It’s an added layer of protection for Mifepristone in Arizona. Obviously, we feel very protected by the Washington case, but this is sort of, OK, phew, a little sigh of relief,” said Mayes.

The Supreme Court’s temporary order will expire just before midnight on Wednesday. Then the Supreme Court will decide whether to keep Mifepristone more broadly available.